THE MASTER’S HAND Poetry/Poem by Mary Elizabeth Blake (1840-1907)

THE scroll was old and gray;
The dust of time had gathered white and chill
Above the touches of the worker’s skill,
And hid their charm away.

The many passed it by;
For no sweet curve of dainty face or form,
No gleam of light, or flash of color warm,
Held back the careless eye.

But when the artist came,
With eye that saw beyond the charm of sense,
He seemed to catch a sense of power intense
That filled the dusky frame.

And when with jealous care
His hand had cleansed the canvas, line by line,
Behold! the fire of perfect art divine,
Had burned its impress there!

Upon the tablet glowed,
Made priceless by the arch of time they spanned,
The touches of the rare Old Master’s hand,
The life his skill bestowed.

O God whom we adore!
Give us the watchful sight, to see and trace
Thy living semblance in each human face
However clouded o’er.

Give us the power to find,
However warped and grimed by time and sin,
Thine impress stamped upon the soul within,
Thy signet on the mind.

Not ours the reckless speed
To proudly pass our brother’s weakness by,
And turning from his side with careless eye,
To take no further heed;–

But, studying line by line,
Grant to our hearts deep trust and patient skill,
To trace within his soul and spirit still
Thy Master Hand divine!

MIRACLES Poetry/Poem by Conrad Aiken (1889-1973)

TWILIGHT is spacious, near things in it seem far,
And distant things seem near.
Now in the green west hangs a yellow star.
And now across old waters you may hear
The profound gloom of bells among still trees,
Like a rolling of huge boulders beneath seas.

Silent as though in evening contemplation
Weaves the bat under the gathering stars.
Silent as dew, we seek new incarnation,
Meditate new avatars.
In a clear dusk like this
Mary climbed up the hill to seek her son,
To lower him down from the cross, and kiss
The mauve wounds, every one.

Men with wings
In the dusk walked softly after her.
She did not see them, but may have felt
The winnowed air around her stir;
She did not see them, but may have known
Why her son’s body was light as a little stone.
She may have guessed that other hands were there
Moving the watchful air.

Now, unless persuaded by searching music
Which suddenly opens the portals of the mind,
We guess no angels,
And are contented to be blind.
Let us blow silver horns in the twilight,
And lift our hearts to the yellow star in the green,
To find perhaps, if, while the dew is rising,
Clear things may not be seen.

MUSIC ON CHRISTMAS MORNING Poetry/Poem by Anne Bronte (1820-1849)

MUSIC I love–but never strain
Could kindle raptures so divine,
So grief assuage, so conquer pain,
And rouse this pensive heart of mine–
As that we hear on Christmas morn,
Upon the wintry breezes borne.

Though Darkness still her empire keep,
And hours must pass, ere morning break;
From troubled dreams, or slumbers deep,
That music KINDLY bids us wake:
It calls us, with an angel’s voice,
To wake, and worship, and rejoice;

To greet with joy the glorious morn,
Which angels welcomed long ago,
When our redeeming Lord was born,
To bring the light of Heaven below;
The Powers of Darkness to dispel,
And rescue Earth from Death and Hell.

While listening to that sacred strain,
My raptured spirit soars on high;
I seem to hear those songs again
Resounding through the open sky,
That kindled such divine delight,
In those who watched their flocks by night.

With them I celebrate His birth–
Glory to God, in highest Heaven,
Good-will to men, and peace on earth,
To us a Saviour-king is given;
Our God is come to claim His own,
And Satan’s power is overthrown!

A sinless God, for sinful men,
Descends to suffer and to bleed;
Hell MUST renounce its empire then;
The price is paid, the world is freed,
And Satan’s self must now confess
That Christ has earned a RIGHT to bless:

Now holy Peace may smile from heaven,
And heavenly Truth from earth shall spring:
The captive’s galling bonds are riven,
For our Redeemer is our king;
And He that gave his blood for men
Will lead us home to God again.

NEARER MY GOD TO THEE Poetry/Poem by Sarah F. Adams (1805-1848)

NEARER, my God, to thee,
Nearer to Thee!
E’en tho’ it be a cross
That raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!

Tho’ like a wanderer,
The sun gone down,
Darkness be over me,
My rest a stone,
Yet in my dreams I’d be
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee.

There let the way appear
Steps unto heaven;
All that thou sendest me
In mercy given;

Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee.

Then, with my waking thoughts
Bright with thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs
Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee.

Or if on joyful wing
Cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot,
Upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!

KEEP ME, JESUS, KEEP ME Poetry/Poem by Waverley Turner Carmichael

KEEP me ‘neath Thy mighty wing,
Keep me, Jesus, keep me;
Help me praise Thy Holy name,
Keep me, Jesus, keep me.
O my Lamb, come, my Lamb,
O my good Lamb,
Save me, Jesus, save me.

Hear me as I cry to Thee;
Keep me, Jesus, keep me;
May I that bright glory see;
Keep me, Jesus, keep me.
O my Lamb, my good Lamb,
O my good Lamb,
Keep me, Jesus, keep me.

JERUSALEM (from ‘Milton’ Poetry/Poem by William Blake (1757-1827)

AND did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

HYMN Poetry/Poem by Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

THE spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
Th’ unwearied Sun from day to day
Does his Creator’s power display;
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The Moon takes up the wondrous tale;
And nightly to the listening Earth
Repeats the story of her birth:
Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball;
What though nor real voice nor sound
Amidst their radiant orbs be found?
In Reason’s ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice;
For ever singing as they shine,
‘The Hand that made us is divine.’

THE HOLY EUCHARIST Poetry/Poem by Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681)

HONEY in the lion’s mouth,
Emblem mystical, divine,
How the sweet and strong combine;
Cloven rock for Israel’s drouth;
Treasure-house of golden grain
By our Joseph laid in store,
In his brethren’s famine sore
Freely to dispense again;
Dew on Gideon’s snowy fleece;
Well, from bitter turned to sweet;
Shew-bread laid in order meet,
Bread whose cost doth ne’er increase,
Though no rain in April fall;
Horeb’s manna freely given
Showered in white dew from heaven,
Marvelous, angelical;
Weightiest bunch of Canaan’s vine;
Cake to strengthen and sustain
Through long days of desert pain;
Salem’s monarch’s bread and wine;–
Thou the antidote shalt be
Of my sickness and my sin,
Consolation, medicine,
Life and Sacrament to me.

THE DOUBTER’S PRAYER Poetry/Poem by Anne Bronte (1820-1849)

ETERNAL Power, of earth and air!
Unseen, yet seen in all around,
Remote, but dwelling everywhere,
Though silent, heard in every sound;

If e’er thine ear in mercy bent,
When wretched mortals cried to Thee,
And if, indeed, Thy Son was sent,
To save lost sinners such as me:

Then hear me now, while kneeling here,
I lift to thee my heart and eye,
And all my soul ascends in prayer,

Without some glimmering in my heart,
I could not raise this fervent prayer;
But, oh! a stronger light impart,
And in Thy mercy fix it there.

While Faith is with me, I am blest;
It turns my darkest night to day;
But while I clasp it to my breast,
I often feel it slide away.

Then, cold and dark, my spirit sinks,
To see my light of life depart;
And every fiend of Hell, methinks,
Enjoys the anguish of my heart.

What shall I do, if all my love,
My hopes, my toil, are cast away,
And if there be no God above,
To hear and bless me when I pray?

If this be vain delusion all,
If death be an eternal sleep,
And none can hear my secret call,
Or see the silent tears I weep!

Oh, help me, God! For thou alone
Canst my distracted soul relieve;
Forsake it not: it is thine own,
Though weak, yet longing to believe.

Oh, drive these cruel doubts away;
And make me know, that Thou art God!
A faith, that shines by night and day,
Will lighten every earthly load.

If I believe that Jesus died,
And waking, rose to reign above;
Then surely Sorrow, Sin, and Pride,
Must yield to Peace, and Hope, and Love.

And all the blessed words He said
Will strength and holy joy impart:
A shield of safety o’er my head,
A spring of comfort in my heart.

THE CROSS Poetry/Poem by Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681)

TREE which heaven has willed to dower
With that true fruit whence we live,
As that other death did give;
Of new Eden loveliest flower;
Bow of light, that in worst hour
Of the worst flood signal true
O’er the world, of mercy threw;
Fair plant, yielding sweetest wine;
Of our David harp divine;
Or our Moses tables new;
Sinner am I, therefore I
Claim upon thy mercies make;
Since alone for sinners’ sake
God on thee endured to die.

BY NIGHT WHEN OTHERS SOUNDLY SLEPT Poetry/Poem by Anne Bradstreet (c.1612-1672)

BY night when others soundly slept
And hath at once both ease and Rest,
My waking eyes were open kept
And so to lie I found it best.

I sought him whom my Soul did Love,
With tears I sought him earnestly.
He bow’d his ear down from Above.
In vain I did not seek or cry.

My hungry Soul he fill’d with Good;
He in his Bottle put my tears,
My smarting wounds washt in his blood,
And banisht thence my Doubts and fears.

What to my Saviour shall I give
Who freely hath done this for me?
I’ll serve him here whilst I shall live
And Loue him to Eternity.

ALL THINGS ARE FULL OF GOD Poetry/Poem by John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895)

ALL things are full of God. Thus spoke
Wise Thales in the days
When subtle Greece to thought awoke
And soared in lofty ways.
And now what wisdom have we more?
No sage divining-rod
Hath taught than this a deeper lore,

The Light that gloweth in the sky
And shimmers in the sea,
That quivers in the painted fly
And gems the pictured lea,
The million hues of Heaven above
And Earth below are one,
And every lightful eye doth love
The primal light, the Sun.

Even so, all vital virtue flows
From life’s first fountain, God;
And he who feels, and he who knows,
Doth feel and know from God.
As fishes swim in briny sea,
As fowl do float in air,
From Thy embrace we cannot flee;
We breathe, and Thou art there.

Go, take thy glass, astronomer,
And all the girth survey
Of sphere harmonious linked to sphere,
In endless bright array.
All that far-reaching Science there
Can measure with her rod,
All powers, all laws, are but the fair
Embodied thoughts of God.

OVER THE GREAT CITY Poetry/Poem by Edward Carpenter (1844-1929)

OVER the great city,
Where the wind rustles through the parks and gardens,
In the air, the high clouds brooding,
In the lines of street perspective, the lamps, the traffic,
The pavements and the innumerable feet upon them,
I Am: make no mistake–do not be deluded.

Think not because I do not appear at the first glance–because the centuries have gone by and there is no assured tidings of me–that therefore I am not there.
Think not because all goes its own way that therefore I do not go my own way through all.
The fixed bent of hurrying faces in the street–each turned towards its own light, seeing no other–yet I am the Light towards which they all look.
The toil of so many hands to such multifarious ends, yet my hand knows the touch and twining of them all.

All come to me at last.
There is no love like mine;
For all other love takes one and not another;
And other love is pain, but this is joy eternal.

O COME QUICKLY! Poetry/Poem by Thomas Campion (1567?-1619)

NEVER weather-beaten sail more willingly bent to shore,
Never tirèd pilgrim’s limbs affected slumber more,
Than my wearied sprite now longs to fly out of my troubled breast:
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest!

Ever blooming are the joys of heaven’s high Paradise,
Cold age deafs not there our ears nor vapour dims our eyes:
Glory there the sun outshines; whose beams the Blessèd only see:
O come quickly, glorious Lord, and raise my sprite to Thee!

THE TIGER Poetry/Poem by William Blake (1757-1827)

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And, when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

TO THE DIVINE SPIRIT Poetry/Poem by John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895)

SPIRIT that shaped the formless chaos,
Breath that stirred the sluggish deep,
When the primal crude creation
Started from its dateless sleep;
Spirit that heaved the granite mountains
From the central fiery wells,
Breath that drew the rolling rivers
From the welkin’s dewy cells,
Spirit of motion,
Earth and ocean
Moulding into various life,
Within, without us,
And round about us
Weaving all in friendly strife:
Come, O come, thou heavenly guest,
Shape a new world within my breast!

Spirit that taught the holy fathers
Wandering through the desert drear,
To know and feel, through myriad marchings,
One eternal presence near.
Breath that touched the Hebrew prophets’
Lips with words of wingèd fire,
Through the dubious gloom of ages,
Kindling hope and high desire;
Spirit revealing
To pure feeling,
In the inward parts of man,
Vast foreshadowings of Thy plan;
Come, O come, thou prophet guest,
Watch and wait within my breast!

Spirit that o’er Thine own Messiah
Hovered like a brooding dove,
When Earth’s haughty lords he conquered,
By the peaceful march of love.
Breath that hushed loud-vaunting Caesars,
And in triumph yoked to Thee
Iron Rome, and savage Scythia,
Bonded brethren and the free.
Spirit of union,
And communion
Of devoted heart with heart,
Pure and holy,
Sure and slowly
Working out thy boastless part:
Come, thou calmly-conquering guest,
Rule and reign within my breast!

Spirit that, when free-thoughted Europe
With the triple-crowned despot strove,
In the gusty Saxon’s spirit
Thy soul-stirring music wove;
Then when pride’s piled architecture
At a poor monk’s truthful word
Crashing fell, and thrones were shaken
At the whisper of the Lord.
Spirit deep-lurking,
Weaver of strange circumstance,
All whose doing
Is rise or ruin
Named by shallow mortals chance;
Come, let fruitful deeds attest
Thy plastic virtue, in my breast!

Spirit, that sway’st the will of mortals,
Every wish, and every hope,
Shaping to Thy forethought purpose
All their striving, all their scope.
Central tide that heavest onward
Wave and wavelet, surge and spray,
Making wrath of man to praise Thee,
And his pride to pave Thy way:
Spirit that workest,
Where thou lurkest,
Death from life, and day from night,
Peace from warring,
And from jarring,
Songs of triumph and delight;
Come, O come, Thou heavenly guest,
Work all Thy will within my breast!

TO THE SUPREME BEING Poetry/Poem by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564)

THE prayers I make will then be sweet indeed,
If Thou the spirit give by which I pray:
My unassisted heart is barren clay,
Which of its native self can nothing feed:
Of good and pious works Thou art the seed,
Which quickens only where Thou say’st it may;
Unless Thou show to us Thine own true way,
No man can find it: Father! Thou must lead.
Do Thou, then, breathe those thoughts into my mind
By which such virtue may in me be bred
That in Thy holy footsteps I may tread;
The fetters of my tongue do Thou unbind,
That I may have the power to sing of Thee,
And sound Thy praises everlastingly.

THE TREE OF LIFE Poetry/Poem by Robert Buchanan (1841-1901)

‘I have planted the Seed of a Tree,
It shall be strangely fed
With white dew and with red,
And the Gardeners shall be three–
Regret, Hope, Memory!’

The Master smiled:
For the Seed that He had set
Broke presently thro’ the mould,
With a glimmer of green and gold,
And the Angels’ eyes were wet–
Hope, Memory, Regret.

The Master cried:
‘It liveth–breatheth–see!
Its soft lips open wide–
It looks from side to side–
How strange they gleam on me,
The little dim eyes of the Tree!’

The Master said:
‘After a million years,
The Seed I set and fed
To itself hath gatherèd
All the world’s smiles and tears–
How mighty it appears!’

The Master said:
‘At last, at last, I see
A Blossom, a Blossom o’ red
From the heart of the Tree is shed.
’Tis fairer certainly
Than the Tree, or the leaves of the Tree.’

The Master cried:
‘O Angels, that guard the Tree,
A Blossom, a Blossom divine
Grows on this greenwood of mine:
What may this Blossom be?
Name this Blossom to me!’

The Master smiled;
For the Angels answered thus:
‘Our tears have nourish’d the same,
We have given it a name
That seemeth fit to us–
We have called it Spiritus.’

The Master said:
‘This Flower no Seed shall bear;
But hither on a day
My beautiful Son shall stray,
And shall snatch it unaware,
And wreath it in his hair.’

The Master smiled:
‘The Tree shall never bear–
Seedless shall perish the Tree,
But the Flower my Son’s shall be;
He will pluck the Flower and wear,
Till it withers in his hair!’

TRIMURTI Poetry/Poem by John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895)

TRIMURTI, Trimurti,
Despise not the name;
Think and know
Before thou blame!

Look upon the face of Nature
In the flush of June;
BRAHMA is the great Creator,
Life is Brahma’s boon.
Dost thou hear the zephyr blowing?
That is Brahma’s breath,
Vital breath, live virtue showing
’Neath the ribs of death.
Dost thou see the fountain flowing?
That is Brahma’s blood,
Lucid blood–the same is glowing
In the purpling bud.
Brahma’s Eyes look forth divining
From the welkin’s brow,
Full bright eyes–the same are shining
In the sacred cow.
Air, and Fire, and running River,
And the procreant clod,
Are but faces changing ever
Of one changeless God.
When thy wingèd thought ascendeth
Where high thoughts are free,
This is Brahma when he lendeth
Half the God to thee.
Brahma is the great Creator,
Life a mystic drama;
Heaven, and Earth, and living Nature
Are but masks of Brahma.

WHERE THE BLESSED FEET HAVE TROD Poetry/Poem by Michael Field [pen name of Katherine Bradley (1846–1913) and Edith Cooper (1862–1914)]

NOT alone in Palestine those blessed Feet have trod,
For I catch their print,
I have seen their dint
On a plot of chalky ground,
Little villas dotted round;
On a sea-worn waste,
Where a priest, in haste,
Passeth with the Blessèd Sacrament to one dying, frail,
Through the yarrow, past the tamarisk, and the plaited snail:
Bright upon the grass I see
Bleeding Feet of Calvary–
And I worship, and I clasp them round!
On this bit of chalky, English ground,
Jesu, Thou art found: my God I hail,
My Lord, my God!


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